Cough

No, the fires aren’t that close. They are close enough to make the air distinctly smoky.

Smoky enough that schools are canceling classes and sporting events. I note that there are major college sports scheduled for the next few days: football games in Berkeley (Washington State and Cal) and Palo Alto (Oregon and Stanford) are the most notable. As of this writing, both games are still expected to go on as scheduled, which means teams are out practicing as usual. At the professional level, I see the 49ers are on the other coast to play the Team Which Needs to Change Its Name, so they’re unaffected, but the Oakland Raiders home game is still on. More evidence that football is hazardous to your health, I suppose.

Smoky enough that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued a warning for everyone, not just people with respiratory issues. They’re saying many parts of the Bay Area currently have the worst air quality they’ve ever recorded, and Friday and Saturday are expected to be worse.

We’re holed up inside, as recommended, but the house is old enough and porous enough that we can smell smoke inside. It doesn’t seem to be bothering the cats, but if it gets bad enough that we feel the need to move them someplace with better air quality control, we’ve got plenty of carriers standing by.

Nor is there any rain in the forecasts. Firefighters are on their own, with no help from nature.

On the brighter side, fires around Napa are sufficiently under control that people with critical needs will be allowed in. It’s not much, but we’re looking for any bright sides we can find.

I’m definitely seeing less automobile traffic with locals staying indoors. Can we hope that the reduction in automotive exhaust will help keep the air quality from rising above its current “Unhealthy”? I’d prefer to avoid the next level, “Very Unhealthy,” much less “Hazardous”. There’s a map here if you want to see what the current conditions are like.

Finally, I have no doubt the religious lunatic fringe is blaming the fires on God, who is, of course, punishing us decadent Californians for our liberal views on human rights. I don’t wish similar disasters on them in return–I don’t wish them on anyone–but I take a certain quiet pleasure in knowing they’ll feel at least one bit of God’s punishment themselves, a jab where it will hurt them the most: the price of sacramental wine is going to spike upward.

Again, small victories.